The fatal shooting of a mentally ill man by National Guard members acting as a police force has angered some New Orleans residents and prompted debate about whether Guard patrols dispatched at the request of the city’s mayor should now be suspended, reports National Public Radio. One of the main jobs for the National Guard is to comb neighborhoods in search of unscrupulous contractors and people who are scavenging housing materials that can be sold for scrap.
Last week, they saw 53-year-old Terry Burton riding a bike and carrying a hacksaw. When they approached him, he fled to a vacant house. They followed him. He pointed what they thought was a rifle, and they opened fire, killing him. He was actually carrying a BB gun. Some describe the Guard as an occupying force in the city, although a commander denies that. It will stay in New Orleans until at least June.